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What The Tech: iPad vs. laptop

CHARLOTTE, NC — Not long after Apple introduced the iPad, the company began talking about how the tablet could someday replace a laptop computer. An iPad with the latest operating system allows users to do most everything they need to do on a computer, so how close are we to. There are several reasons you might choose an iPad over a laptop. It’s lighter, thinner, has a touch screen, and can use apps. But can it really replace a laptop? For some, yes, but you’ll need some extras.

A keyboard makes an iPad more like using a computer. Apple’s Magic keyboards range from 160-300. Brydge makes Bluetooth keyboards for all iPads with backlit keys and the battery runs for days. A Bridge keyboard with a trackpad is $160-$190.

The new iPad operating system works with a mouse, just like a computer. You can also have more than one program or app on the screen at the same time. Just like a Macbook.

But, unlike laptops, there are no USB ports on iPads, only the USB C charging port. There’s a way around this. Anker makes a hub that plugs into the charging port and adds slots for standard USB, SD cards, and HDMI. Why is this big? You can use the iPad’s files app to move items from a flash drive, or external hard drive just like a laptop.

With the touch screen and an Apple Pencil, graphic artists may prefer the iPad to a Macbook.

You’re not saving money by choosing an iPad. The new iPad Pro costs 800-1100. Add a keyboard and that’s at least another $150 and if you add a hub to use SD cards and USB drives, you’re looking at over $1,000. Last year’s Macbook Air costs $900 and right now Apple’s offering an extra $150 gift card on Macbook purchases.

So price-wise comparing a Macbook Air and an iPad Pro is pretty even, but if you’re considering replacing a bulky PC laptop, the iPad will be easier to carry and easier to use, but it’s going to cost a lot more than a basic PC laptop